Bali Begins in Balangan

balangan bali

 

Light floods through the windows that encase my bungalow.

 

balangan bali

 

Rooster crows reverberate against the glass panes.

Cattle intermittently bellow a comical tune.

 

balangan bali

 

His soft, steady breath beside me

dreaming beneath clouds of white sheet

lures me to linger

 

balangan bali

 

but adventure seduces me

far more mightily

than any man.

 

balangan bali

 

I emerge from my mosquito netted cocoon

and creep out my front door.

 

balangan bali

 

Incense wafts from the offering on my porch

its musky scent pinches me back to reality.

 

balangan bali

 

I am in Bali. In Balangan. In bliss.

 

balangan bali

 

The dirt road crumbles beneath my bare feet as I walk the deserted path to the beach.

 

balangan bali

 

In the distance surfers ride the early morning waves

braving the threats of sea urchins and coral reef.

 

balangan bali

 

I approach a modest strip of wooden huts

 

balangan bali

 

behind them lies garbage, chickens, and strays

 

balangan bali

 

beyond them an endless glittering sea.

 

balangan bali

 

I watch the surfers in a trance

they fearlessly face the ocean

 

balangan bali

 

children and novices confuse the line up

again and again they crash.

 

balangan bali

 

A procession ascends the mountain

Balinese clad in lace

raising parasols adorned with gold.

 

balangan bali

 

I follow them up steps made of stone

to the top of the cliff

what a view I behold.

 

balangan bali

 

The world below looks small

and vast all at once

I feel only what surrounds me

my bungalow fades from memory.

 

balangan bali

 

Fisherman in the distance

wave proudly holding their latest catch.

 

balangan bali

 

I discover a cavernous temple

hidden inside the rock.

emotions rise within me

for the blessing of my life.

 

balangan bali

 

At lunch I return to a beachfront wooden warung

dine on fried rice and a young coconut

instinctively sway to familiar reggae.

 

balangan bali

 

When the intense sun singes my first world skin

I hide in my my new favorite cave

respite from other humans and UVA rays.

 

balangan bali

 

Yogis begin asana on the flat grass behind the beach

down dog, warriors, rise up, reach.

 

balangan bali

 

Shadows consume a once illuminated shore

the sky ignites

the sun silhouettes the cliff

surfers stay out wanting more.

 

balangan bali

 

When I reflect

on my time in Balangan

I remember these moments

 

balangan bali

 

where I was alone with the Bali

I always imagined in my dreams.

 

 

How to Get to Balangan

No public buses or shuttles operate down on Bali’s Bukit Peninsula so you will need to arrive by taxi, motorbike, or hired car. Always take Bluebird taxis with meters for the best rates. Balangan is about an hour from the airport and should cost less than 200,000 rupiah to reach in a taxi.

 

 

Where to Sleep in Balangan

 

Bungalows on the Beach

50,000 – 100,000 rupiah ($4-8)

Simple wooden bungalows and rooms are available on the beach. These accommodations are very rustic with shared bathrooms, cold water, and mosquito nets, but you will wake up to the sound of the ocean and you can’t beat the price.

 

Merta Sari Balangan Bungalows

250,000 rupiah ($20)

I stayed here for four nights and absolutely loved it. The bungalow was hands down the most luxurious I’ve stayed in anywhere. The bed was ultra comfortable, the room was spacious, and the bathroom had a huge hot water shower. It cost $10 per person including a breakfast of tea, juice, fruit salad, and eggs. It’s a short walk to the beach and about a ten minute motorbike ride into the town. The restaurant served tasty, inexpensive food as well.

 

Flowerbud Bungalows

350,000 rupiah ($30)

I have not stayed in Flowerbud Bungalows personally, but they came highly recommended by other travelers. They are on the cliff just a short distance from the beach, have hot water showers, a swimming pool, an onsite restaurant, and even a spa.

 

 

Where to Eat in Balangan

 

Dining in Balangan is simple with just a few local cafes on the beach. I hung out often at Froggy’s because they played the best music. Pull up somewhere, grab a bottle of Bingtang, eat a local plate of food, and listen to the ocean. What more could you need?

 

You can find local street food on the main street which is about a ten minute motorbike ride away. Elsewhere on the peninsula, head to Jimbaran for the best seafood in Bali or Uluwatu or Padang Padang for health cafes and Western fare.

 

 

What to Do in Balangan

 

Rent a board, grab some reef shoes, and ride the waves.

Tan on the golden sand shores.

Climb the cliffs for sunset views of the bay.

Enjoy the simple life.

Befriend some locals over a beer at Froggy’s.